According to a report that surfaced yesterday, several hundred of Dell Chromebooks acquired by the city of Providence, Rhode Island for students of the local high school were stolen on June 7th. The theft occurred somewhere in the FedEx distribution center and Cumberland police detective Jolene Alves confirmed that the FBI recently took over the case. Michael D'Antuano, Providence School Department business manager stated that the Chromebook shipment never reached the department building and that the blame lies on FedEx.
The latest information released by authorities suggests that the thief impersonated a FedEx employee on June 7th, signed off, and proceeded to take away the shipment. Not surprisingly, D'Antuano is upset with this turn of events and has stated that there is no way the School Department will pay for a product that was never received, adding that such a thing "would be ridiculous." He also specifically stated that it wasn't school department's responsibility to pick up the shipment, once again implying that FedEx is to be blamed for the theft.
FedEx representative Lauren Doll refused to reveal details of the situation to the media and has simply explained that the media inquiries are related to an ongoing investigation that she can't comment on. However, she explicitly stated that FedEx is closely cooperating with the authorities and expressed hope that the case will soon be solved. Kristen Setera, FBI adviser for public affairs also refused to verify detective Alves' claims that the FBI took over the investigation, though she also didn't deny it either. NBC reports that the thief stole around 700 Dell Chromebooks though its sources aren't aware of exact models that were stolen. In other words, the stolen shipment is worth between $153,000 and $230,000. Superintendent Christopher Maher's spokeswoman Laura Hart refused to confirm that number and has simply added that she's certain the theft wasn't an inside job.
The silver lining here is that Dell has already shipped more Chromebooks to the Providence School Department and that the shipment actually reached its intended destination this time. The department's information technology director Peter Santos already confirmed that the students have everything they need and that school is proceeding as normal.